Let's say a new TV show starts airing, and you really like it and want to discuss it more. You can probably bet there's a subreddit for it, and in that community, a ton of people interested in it. You can bet there are threads for discussing it in other parts of Reddit too. Worst case, you can make one yourself.
This is something that everyone has in common. Everyone has a community they want to "be apart of" and Reddit lets you express yourself to those communities without having an identity tied to that community. There are groups on Facebook, but it's so tied to you that it's hard to just be a part of a community. On Twitter, people tend to congregate around others in their interest domain, but by default, all posts go everywhere. Someone into a show on Twitter is going to dilute their feed and have a similarly diluted feed if they discuss it. In contrast, a subreddit is a concentrated mass of people around a topic.
I don't really get much value outside of this centralization. The default subreddits are too general for my taste, so I don't subscribe to many. But for the 80-90 different topics and communities I like to see, it's great.
While Facebook by default erects walls around content, Reddit by default promotes the free sharing and equal access to information, which resonates much more with the original promise and mission of the internet.
It's encouraging to see Reddit overtaking Facebook in popularity at a time when the freedoms of the internet are often under attack. Yes, Reddit has its flaws, but in the end, it is one of the best defenses that we have.
It's not FUD. I run a small website (about 10k daily visits) where you can log in and play some games and don't have the "reset password via e-mail" mechanism. You won't believe the amount of "I forgot my password, please reset it" requests I get from people.
Majority of people give more value to being allowed to be lazy and forgetful than you having their e-mail address on record.
I guess what I’m saying is that there is an internal motivation at play to get people to register their email accounts at Reddit, and it goes far beyond reducing customer support time because at present, they are going the opposite way. In fact, had I never registered an email, their automated account locking nonsense would never have triggered, and had I lost my password, their official policy is not to help at all.
Maybe your site does, but Reddit is a huge data mining company just like the other big players on the Internet. That is their motivation. Like Caprinicus' story demonstrates, if the situation were reversed, suddenly it takes weeks to provide customer support. That clearly shows the email isn't about being user friendly, they want to grab it just because they want to lock on to you and let themselves drift away from the anonymous registration they so proudly offered one day.
There's not a lot of goodwill left for this behaviour on the Internet.
I guess other people aren't aware of how to do this or its too much work. Having an email does help the 'reset automatically' the account, without human intervention (when you still have the email).
Of course, now that reddit is bigger than Jesus, there probably are nefarious privacy-destroying forces at work, but even more than a decade ago, there were totally innocent reasons for reddit to want an email address when you signed up. I think it says something good that you can still create an account without one (I require a valid non-temporary email on all of my own sites, mostly for spam reduction, even though I very much value/respect privacy and never sell any info we collect on our sites).
I agree with you, I like the ability to create random one shot accounts to comment on something, but that’s exploitable in weird ways.
It seems like anonymity should be more of a driving force, but seeing both good and bad social media sites with each model, I'm no longer sure anonymity either preserves or inhibits culture... it might just be orthogonal.
Self-policing can also be manipulated. You cannot rely on user-intent alone, you need some structural protection against these kinds of things. Although I don't know what the best kind is.
Just pointing out that true names didn't inoculate Facebook, which doesn't even get as far as that problematic response.
That's why I said anonymity is orthogonal--that was my main point.
For example, anonymity is easier on HN, and I prefer our comments to FB. On the other hand, I'm not typing this on 4chan. There are dozens of other examples on the spectrum. Anonymity just doesn't seem like the determining factor for culture everyone makes it out to be. Maybe it has some impact, but it seems washed out by the typical culture of the group, driven by that group's interests, style, and tolerance of
(or preference for) obnoxiousness.
Tangential example of technology/community interaction: Clay Shirky's "A Group Is It's Own Worst Enemy" is a great essay on how self-policing can backfire even without external influences. The overall conclusion being that the technological framework surrounding the community needs to provide the means for it to support itself not only against internal influences, but also to prevent it from harming itself.
On reddit you can see in practice how the many different subcommunities apply this self-policing in practice, and what kind of effects it has. From the echo chambers of the more extremist ones (won't name any examples to avoid provoking anyone), to examples of subreddits dying due to sloppy moderation not holding back meme-ification and shitposting (same), to communities with very clear goals that are achieved through iron-fisted moderation (usually knowledge-oriented communities like /r/AskHistorians).
For more political and personal topics, Facebook is far better. Mostly because there are far more Facebook groups than there are subreddits, so in a controversial topic you tend to get vicious, abusive individuals taking control of a given category on Reddit. Because there are a lot of these folks out there and there's no objective way to remove them. On Facebook, you can create a group on topic X, run it sanely and gradually get credibility and get people migrating from the less-sane groups. If there's a way to do this on reddit once some dubious character has claimed a given topic, I'd like to known.
And for really small groups, Dischord seems best.
There is nothing preventing multiple subreddits dedicated to similar or identical things. If you feel abusive people are taking control, chances are others do too. So the best course of action would be to start another subreddit dedicated to the same thing. You and others who feel this way can build a better, less abusive, less controlled environment and people who prefer that environment will move over in time.
Edit: Also if you install the right moderators for the environment you want to create it can ensure the abusive individuals can't take control of your subreddit.
I installed the Reddit Enhancement Suite plugin to hide /r/politics and /r/the_donald from my home page. If I do read something political on there its from /r/NeutralPolitics which requires anything you post to be cited with evidence.
For everything else reddit is great. I don't even use Facebook anymore because it became too political on there. If I want politics I'll watch PBS News Hour or go to a news site.
What I enjoy most about Reddit is the quirky, people just being stupid (in a fun way), jokes and humor around many subreddits and prominent on most that appear on /r/popular.
I don't think people would post as openly if real names were attached. So I really think this fosters/allows for that to happen. It's odd that that was something I loved the most about the early internet too and it seems to be rare now.
It makes me think that privacy is highly underestimated by Facebook. While it was once their key value proposition that real identity was desirable on a social site, with increasing political polarization and increased threats of government surveillance, the roles are now reversed and we'll continue to see privacy being treasured.
I have a Facebook account I NEVER post to and only check twice a week for about 30 seconds each instance. I do however spend an inordinate amount of time on Reddit. So much so that I deliberately have to wean myself off Reddit otherwise I'll waste too much time on it.
r/changemyview is one favorite example for excellent rational discourse on often very controversial topics.
Its a Trump hate thread with very little objectivity.
But I agree that aggregate comment vote is not an indicator of correctness - more of whatever way the wind is blowing at a particular time in a particular community.
I've also run into subreddits run by very biased moderators who will mark any stories as spam they disagree or competes with their friends. And due to the shadowban system, many people never realize it.
That's why I stopped submitting comments and stories on reddit. I only browse it now.
In the subs I mod I have a long list of awful contributors on an auto-remove list executed by automoderator. I've got people who have been saying awful thing to people for years, but those posts are never seen. Banning them will only lead them to create a new account.
It nags you SO hard to sign up. On this front it's no better than using Facebook to look at public posts.
To me, reddit seems a great way for a community to reinforce groupthink.
Instances I can think of are forums for motorcycles, cars, photography, and certain tech forums. The ability to nest down by topic rather than having one giant page for say all of BMW cars is what I like about forums. /r/BMW is basically worthless to me as it's just picture sharing. I also dislike reddit because it's hard to remember a name constantly. It's easier when there's a little profile picture next to the name. You go, "oh yeah, that guy. He's helpful." You remember those posters more often.
Never been a big fan of reddit as it feels pretty shallow in comparison to forums and getting to actually know fellow members decently feels rare.
Some subreddits are awesome, and some are way less awesome. And much of the best, most informative and technical information out there lives on subreddits.
Many people pine for the days when only the most savvy users knew about the forums, but I don't think there is any way to bring that era back.
Reddit has a different weighting on this stuff and as a result you get a different culture, and these even differ between sub-reddits, but have the signature of a different weighting system, and a greater ability for sock puppeting. I don't think one is better or worse, just that these trade offs are there and have to happen.
It's not the only example though. In my comment history you will see another set of discussions that are essentially the same (but a few months apart) where I'm arguing that autopilot doesn't imply self driving. One was a discussion which seemed balanced by votes (I probably lost). The other descended into users calling me a "smug pedant" and a lot of bullying, about -35 karma (and ultimately my first banning). I was pretty disillusioned by the experience and couldn't really work out what was so different, and why I was banned for defending my point of view despite the other peoples behaviours.
I would never have interpreted your comment as a flame btw - such is the nature of robust discussion, but I appreciate you pointing it out. I think too often people take an intellectual assault on an idea as a personal assault. They are different, and I welcome them despite the pride I lose hopefully learning a lesson. I'm always genuinely grateful of the time a commenter takes to put me in my place, but usually it is just "pedant" and down vote.
HN serves a rather specific goal, it is basically PG/YC's playground. This community will never be allowed to deviate much from their interests. That's a given you know pretty much when you sign up though.
At the very least Reddit is far more broad. So of course you're going to find a subreddit where you feel you belong. Some just might have to search further. In a way that's an easy statement to make though akin to "If you date enough people, you'll eventually find your soulmate."
Anyway, the comparison is moot due to the size difference. Its more fair to compare subreddits or groups of subreddits (how does that work?) with HN. Such as say startup-related subreddits.
AFAIK you can be punished even if you are part of the groupthink.
Which is good IMO.
To me, personally, I like Reddit because this kind of association is more difficult. I like reading a comment and not having any bias towards the user.
Hiwever,for a general discussion that is non-technical, then I would agree that a newb's opinion carrying nearly the same weight as a regular is a good thing.
Oh yeah, the classic Unregistered Hypercam 2, typing in Notepad, kid with a squeaky voice or barely comprehensible Russian or Indian guy Youtube video
I think the upvote/downvote system is what makes reddit so popular, since it acts to filter out the useless comments that often fill up other forums.
Unless you have VERY active moderators in those other forums, you will be inundated by useless comments.
Now, reddit's system is not perfect, but the hiding of some comments is certainly a feature and not a shortcoming of the platform.
It’s not a perfect system, but it’s loss better than the next best option.
What is your basis for saying “most” of the time. This is very different from my experience and I find it difficult to measure as groupthink prevents discussion, so what do you measure.
I’ve watched many subs for hobbies I follow get boringer and boringer as mods try to enforce various rules and start moderating what’s appropriate or not. As a result, discussion kind of stopped. So I’m glad your experience is that mostly racists get banned, but I’ve seen discussions on /r/badhistory devolve into weird gender/race discussions that don’t really have a productive outcome.
This view is pretty naive. I suspect you just don't hold any opinions against the groupthink of the subreddits you participate in.
A controversial comment does in fact command a higher burden of proof. Thus the comment has to be of even higher quality. And when it is, I feel it survives the downvotes.
At least I've generally been able to go against the group think and survive downvotes. But generally you need a clear argument, have a real point, and not show bias.
Now, it won't always fly, but I think high quality controversial comments can.
If the majority of your group is rational, a rational comment will not be controversial even if the view is unpopular. However, the vast majority of the population is not rational when it comes to reading unpopular opinions and that shows in every subreddit.
> I also dislike reddit because it's hard to remember a name constantly
There are tons of extensions/apps for Reddit that lets you annotate/tag users and the like. I do tend to agree with that to some extent, though - a more personal touch would make it easier to have conversations feel like they're with people rather than with handles.
I think this is due to its utterly basic up/downvoting as well as its completely-unenforced TOS which state you should not downvote simply for disagreeing.
When you downvote, you should have to specify a reason (such as "offtopic") and one of the reasons should not remotely be "I disagree"
In most of the subreddits I've seen, it's clear that upvoting for agreement and downvoting for disagreement are both rampant, and I think this is self-perpetuating. When I read a quality post that I disagree with, I would like to stick to the supposed spirit of the voting system and upvote, but I'll think twice about doing so because I know it will be misinterpreted. Giving me a way to explicitly signal one thing and not the other would break this bind.
And even if the system was still abused by 50% of people, it would be possible to offer some interesting filter settings: for example, you could favour posts with a relatively high ratio of Good Post points to Agree points, on the theory that highly agreed-with posts will probably score more Good Post points than they deserve.
BTW, I think the default downvote reason should be "disagree" because that's the majority use case for it despite what the Reddit designers intended. If a vote was accompanied by more information (offtop, funny, disagree, etc...) then I could tailor my experience better.
HN has that issue too in some ways, with threads about company X always repeating the same arguments, which in a forum at least somewhat could be channeled in extra discussions.
You get the same dumb questions over and over plus the “hey guys just joined the club, what are some must-have mods” one picture posts, who never return.
I've been thinking about updating my GitHub profile photo, but this is what's stopping me. No one will know who I am anymore. :P
In many of my hobbies it's the other way around, controversial topics are censored or locked by overzealous forum admins but are visible on Reddit, which has a more laissez-faire attitude in terms of moderation.
OP complained that it’s basically a photo sharing sub.
Forums are linear and your are expected to have read all the post to post in one thread. There is also the old members who nag you into not creating a new thread but use the search tool to comment on an old one. There is forum local stars that control the discourse far more than on subreddits, and the photo + footer customization make them more prone starification and to group think.
On subreddit freshness is always welcomed even it is an old subject with a different spin. You are not expected to present you, there is no random subforum, you can be focused.
I have a bunch of old folders full of funny images that I would love to post but I'm quite sure I will get accused of karma whoring, even though I just want to share funny pictures that are more funny than the current crop of memes
There should be Moore's/ Poe's law for the correlation of the size and influence of a site to the amount of corporate influence on said site. As the natural user base grows to a certain point, it becomes impossible to tell what is organic and what is advertisements or narrative pushing propaganda.
Same issue exists on Youtube and IG with product review shilling.
Sheds a whole new light on the situation when you realize the youtube vid you're watching for tool reviews is actually a disguised advertisement punctuated by auto playing obvious ads.
And even more common than actual shilling is unsubstantiated accusations of shilling.
You could be right, I grant you, but anecdotally more cases of the latter stick out in my experience.
Good shilling is hardly detectable. Front the logo on a can of coke and leave it in frame (next to a ring maybe) while a couple kisses, post it with the title "happiest moment of my life".
It's subtle, you can use photoshop to make it, and anyone who would call you out on it can easily be framed as whiny and paranoid. They don't have the funds to buy influence on the thread anyway, so you could just slide their posts and avoid dealing with them if you wanted.
I'm not saying anything about how often this stuff actually happens (because no one will tell you they've done it so metrics aren't possible), but I will say only the most obvious plays can get caught. But enough about that, let's just talk about Rampart (joking there, I think AMAs are basically stated to be promotion, it just popped into my head)
There may be real shilling on occasion, but the damage to constructive discourse from unverifiable shilling accusations seems greater than whatever the benefits of constant vigilance are supposed to be.
If marketing were really so seamless and even valuable, it would remind me of xkcd 810: https://m.xkcd.com/810/
What we do have is the knowledge of companies/groups dedicated to "influencing online opinion" (e.g. Correct the record, Share Blue, etc.). They don't advertise what they're doing but there somewhere doing influencing. Seems reasonable that they'd be on the biggest social sites doing their work.
What I've personally seen as very obvious shilling is GMO related topics on reddit (regardless of where you stand on the issue). You can be on the most obscure sub you can find, and if anyone says something critical about GMO products there will be a rebutal post within a short time always using the exact same arguments, exact same articles, terminology, etc. When new variations of the defense are developed they are instantly deployed site wide. This is for sure an organized group of people. Are they paid for it? I'm not sure, but for the effort they put in I hope they don't do it for free.
If I had infinite time, it would be intesting to do some deep data analysis on the posts on reddit and try to figure out how many are coordinated.
I'm sure shill-theorists are not puppets of a secret cabal, for example, despite them all using the same unsourced anecdotes and unfalsifiable theories in their attempts to expose the truth about shilling.
For parody subreddits, I think there's a rule that at 80k subs, it starts to become the very thing it was parodying in the first place
Maybe people did notice, and just decided to take this subreddit for something else than laughing at over-patriotism. It's a very successful strategy against shaming, if you can pull it off - just not being ashamed and not being afraid to demonstrate it. Reddit provides excellent venue for that, subreddits being good Schelling points.
I was thinking a combination of Poe's approach to subject matter with Moore's approach to the increase of transistors (users/ traffic in this analogue) over a period of time.
It was more of an offshoot of the gamer gate crowd. There were a few different pro Trump subs; TD just so happened to be the one that took off.
It is a pretty honest sub though; It's supposed to be a non stop Trump rally - clearly subversive content and discourse will be banned and removed.
Source: was there when the original mod drama was kicking off at around 30k subs. Can't remember the guys username but he got booted once the sub took off (around 100k subs) and its almost certainly run by mods on the campaign dole currently.
Being humans, we'd rather close our eyes to it unless we are compelled to face it - such things complicate every discussion and disrupt our happy community. And now you know why propaganda and advertising persist on Facebook and Reddit, and in society.
Is there any actual evidence of this as a widespread phenomenon? The /r/hailcorporate people are among the most annoying on Reddit.
OTOH, if you know or suspect that astroturfing has a very low ROI, you have lots of motivation to not publish anything, but instead tell the clients: "our ROI is spectacular, but unfortunately we can't show any data or stats because you know, we have to do it in secret, so just trust us and pay us $TONS_OF_MONEY, and it'll all be awesome!"
Try this yourself - use imgur and upload some reaction gifs to an account so you can go back and see the view count later.
Don't spam the images but work your way through some comments sections from /all, find some comments you can use your reaction gif on and head back to imgur a few hours later. I expect you may be surprised just how many views that one link you posted got.
Comments get way more views than a picture because people will read a comment more often as they scroll past than people who click a link.
Now imagine you're someone who wants to promote an idea or a product. The amount of eyes that go over what you type into that comment box has the power to drive big traffic. Even just a few thousand views from one comment looking at or even just thinking about that product or idea on a large scale with barely any effort.
I can't prove it happens but I'm more than confident it does.
Before someone could go to the IMDB forums and discuss it. I think they did the job a lot better - if you found a conversation about a particular episode and wanted to comment on it a few weeks after it was made, you could and the topic would come back to the top. With Reddit (and Hacker News), if you're late to the party no one is going to see your comment because the topic is already buried.
Reddit's large variety of user created communities as well as anonymous handles make the site pretty useful. But in terms of the format of the communities, I think the old style of forums were much more conducive to actual ongoing conversations.
Note to companies: Don't do crap like this. Let people lurk. If they like the content then they'll create an account. Forcing them to create an account before they're even allowed to read comments is is sure-fire way to fail.
I'm looking at you, Quora!
And I’m guessing there was some problem, which is why they shut the forums down.
I'd love to know what group targeted IMDB, because it's the most successful takeover I've ever seen.
For starters, everything being centralised means one party now has control over multiple communities, which allows for censorship that wasn't there in the days of separate forums.
And tying identities together... well that's probably why there's so much drama online now. Because everyone presents themselves differently to different groups in the real world, and the difficulty of tying multiple sides of one person together is what keeps humanity and society sane.
But Reddit has certainly done a lot for discoverability and brining communities together.
It went as we'll as I expected it probably would have.
I don't know if I went about it the wrong way but I felt I had well reasoned responses but the few replies I got were weak, and the votes indicate that mods don't want to even think about losing any power or being undermined. A sort of I'm right, you're wrong mentality - the kind that my idea would combat.
Which is precisely why I started working on a federated alternative that uses ActivityPub to let users essentially build cross-server homepages of their own.
There was a mod once that banned everyone across all feminist/gender subreddits who was subscribed to /r/redpill once, based purely on potential toxicity. I was only subscribed to talk some sense into those guys, but instead I got banned from the very subreddits I was being a good contributor to (I was a Psych major and am interested in those things).
So as a result I simply unsubbed across all my Reddit accounts from everything and anything gender-related and everything that was not supportive or sex-positive, because it's an un-critically-thinking cesspool (actually, this criticism can sadly be levied at most of Reddit proper).
So again, we can talk about what we think people want, their declared preferences and ideologies, or we can just look at what they do. The revealed preferences of a significant majority is to be free of trolls and shit stirrers, unless they’re trying to troll or stir shit themselves, then suddenly they’re 1st amendment activists.
I go there and I can tell you this is categorically false. No one's asking you about "the JQ" in the gardening or painting communities.
There's a lot of VERY unpalatable content on voat because its free speech and censorship policies allow what nearly no one else will, but to claim that's literally all that's present there is just a case of finding what you set out to find regardless of what's there.
Freedom means accepting the existence or discussion of things you don't like.
I think you're wrong when you say people don't want freedom or a no-censorship environment because reddit is popular. What people want and what people will tolerate are very different things.
Voat has fulminating hate boners and tumbleweeds, and literally nothing else.
Jesus that’s dead. Meanwhile if you want to hear some skinhead rant, that’s plenty active. Accept what you want, but I’m not interested in the internet equivalent of a Klan rally or a skinhead bar. I’ll go to the reputable establishment down the street that 86’s violent drunks, because loud, violent assholes make for a lousy social experience. You can enjoy a post every month or so in Gardening on Voat, because “freedom”.
There's one saving grace, and that is that there's very little overall activity on the site. The day's top posts on /v/all have scores in the low hundreds -- the equivalent page on Reddit has scores in the hundreds of thousands.
I think one can use anti-White unironically (even if it was not the case here). For example, white farmers in South Africa having their lands confiscated by the Gov without compensation is anti-White.
> or we can just look at what they do
I don't really want to debate censorship, but I will say that I think the issue is a lot more complicated than looking at what "they" "do".
These days it seems like it's more the 1st-10th, especially for new topics. I feel like a lot of middle sized gaming communities have settled on Reddit as the default forum. Larger ones can support multiple external sites, and smaller ones may never have their heavy supporters reach Reddit, but there seems to be a sweet spot where there's enough different contributors that want to congregate somewhere, and unless one of the early ones also has the skills to set up their own forum elsewhere and gets people to adopt it early, Reddit will end up being that place.
Usually once a sub hits a certain level of activity... I leave and look for another one ;)
Your statement that reddit is better at this than Facebook would be in line with Reddit passing Facebook if indeed the purpose of both sites is as described by you and Mark Zuckerberg.
Reddit's founder however, despite sometimes holding some controversial views compared to their dominant user base, kept on fostering a community of largely uncensored free speech and allowing people to connect. There are a few exceptions (obvious hate subs, rogue mods, etc) but for the most part, everyone can find a niche and join a community without fearing the platform will change so much to squeeze an extra buck out them.
Reddit and FB are both in the ad revenue game, but Reddit's largely anonymous user model lends itself to those ads feeling less intrusive. If I can live with giving up my fake internet points, I can effectively reset the data Reddit has on me by creating a new account. There could be some residual leftover data depending on IP addresses, but since most houses have multiple occupants, it's not an easy one to one pairing process between an IP address and an particular user.
Not sure where I was going with this. Just spewing nonsense I suppose :)
Or: wouldn't have the right kind of lunatics in the numbers needed to form a sufficiently reverberant echo chamber.
You're right. I have a 1970's cub tractor and a 70's twosmoke Yamaha cafe racer. The search for knowledge on these items are entirely forums and blogs, never had a hit on Reddit worth a damn.
Youtube is great for this stuff assuming people don't remove their videos. For anything car related, it will be on forums. Same with guns - any in depth discussion is going to be on something like arfcom. When I was looking up information on barrel twists for different lengths and ammo for my 300 BO build, everything was on a forum.
It's also a lot less sreamlined. Dare I say it, reddit feels kind of like an RSS stream of popular content.
Facebook groups feel much more like "go check in and read this group" and the timeline has become increasingly useless.
Big forums like SomethingAwful already have may subforums for different interests, and letting people create subforums seems like a logical next step from that. You could create ones for interests, or even for your business so you don't have to set up your own forum. If it seems weird to have a subforum for a business inside a larger forum, well, people already do exactly that on Facebook and Reddit.
Reddit provides something similar to the same thing, but the format doesn't work well for long term or chronological discussions.
Maybe the time for traditional forums has been and gone, but I'm not so sure.
Not only that, but I use subreddits to organise my research. I collect links to papers and articles as top comments in threads (along with BibTeX information for easy copying), and if it's a book I just list down passages. I then put my notes and thoughts as comments under each.
I know Zotero, wikis and (One|Ever)note are things nowadays, but honestly it gets tiring to have to keep switching contexts every so often.
It was amazing to see how quickly a community sprang from the ashes of financial ruin.
Reddit is a terrible place to discuss anything. Great place to see funny memes about your favorite hobbies and TV shows though.
1) Most Facebook users use the app, not the website, which Alexa doesn't track (Which is also why Facebook doesn't fear commonly used ad blockers).
2) Alexa uses a number of metrics to rank sites, including pages visited. Reddit users load many more individual pages than FB users.
In reality, Reddit is nowhere near close to the traffic and engagement leviathan that is Facebook.
I still agree that Facebook is larger though.
1) Long sessions are more suitable on a laptop/desktop than on a smartphone (the average session time is ~15mn).
2) There is still a nerdy userbase (mostly early users) who prefer to use the website with all the features.
3) The app is relatively recent (April 2016 vs 2012 for Facebook).
4) The official app is not really good IMO (e.g. scrolling is laggy and the UI could be better).
Been using it since release and I don't use the Reddit website directly now except to give gold.
It has a nice UI and a lot of neat features.
#2 could be true, but it might not be.
Regarding the apps, I paid for BaconReader on Android over 6 years ago and still use it. It works fine for me. I have no desire to switch to the official app.
Official app on iOS used to be a third party app called Alien Blue. Reddit basically purchased it, re-branded it as official, and viola. On iOS it had tons of usage prior to that. Incidentally after the rebranding is when I stopped using it and moved to Apollo.
both of those thing converged into reddit.
And before you suggest that those users might still be using it on desktop more than on mobile:
"Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 91% of advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2018, up from approximately 85% of advertising revenue in the first quarter of 2017." - https://investor.fb.com/investor-news/press-release-details/...
Judging by how poorly maintained and how rarely updated the mobile site is, I think it's safe to assume that the vast majority of people are using the native apps, not the mobile site. Major features like the marketplace and video tabs are nowhere to be seen on the mobile site, for example. If the mobile sites were getting the bulk of users, Facebook would surely prioritize it.
As for facebook's priorities - they could surely also be neglecting the mobile site with the aim of getting people to install and use their app. Again, I don't know if this is the case, but it's certainly plausible.
I just noticed this FB blog post: https://developers.facebook.com/ads/blog/post/2018/05/09/rel.... The chart at the top shows app vs. web use of mobile devices, not just for FB but overall. As I expected, mobile web is significantly smaller than native apps, from a time-spent standpoint.
It’s been Reddit’s dilemma since the beginning: you can’t monetize a toxic user base that has total freedom. Sure you can try to drive away the toxic users, but it turns out that those toxic users are also pretty influential in non-toxic aspects.
I’m still skeptical of Reddit’s ability to turn a profit. But as a community platform it’s the best out there IMO.
Is anyone else cynical about this phrase?
How many stars do I have to give my Uber driver till they get paid sick days, paid vacation, healthcare and a pension?
I don't think there's a checkbox for that. It will need some -shudder- regulation to take care of that one.
Maybe not based on the low quality of their search engine...
a) Plan to learn/read something new
b) Just finished a book/tv series and want to
connect with others around it.
c) Looking for recommendations in various genres
Daily news/connecting with people/cat videos are very far away from my use case. Just append "reddit" to qoogle search query and 9 times out of 10, I am golden.
The reality is, how people and groups define terms like racism, bigotry, and misogyny is often very politicized.
The problem with this latter/original assertion is that you are at once acknowledging that there are "sides" and, therefore, a debate to be had but at once shutting it down as not worth having. Obviously, with this comment, it's clear you don't actually believe that, though.
> They are looking to spread hate.
Here's where I think you get closest to the root of what I think is the real origin of online toxicity. For lack of a better term, I think it's trolling for emotion.
I'm not convinced that even what you're saying, that they're looking to spread "hate", is strictly true, but I do agree that they're looking to invoke a strong emotional response, whatever that may be.
I'm pretty sure that some trolls don't even believe in the "side" they claim to support. The message doesn't even have to stand up to rational scrutiny, so it need not even have a true side.
> Hate is not a political opinion. Hate is not worth tolerating.
To the extent that such strong emotional response serves to shut down conversation, it's toxic, and I agree it's not worth tolerating.
However, I think it's dangerous to apply such broad labels, especially if it's focused on the opinions (e.g. racism) rather than the behavior (e.g. appeal to emotion).
> Trolls generate emotions in others while not investing any on their own side. In real life you could not escape from the emotions of your peers — if they are angry you would be physically insecure so there is a BalancingForce, but in CyberSpace you can feel safe. Additionally electronic communication is known to amplify emotions. Those two features collaborate to make trolling so demolishing. When you analyze this phenomenon you need also take into account that very angry people have their thinking under an AngryCloud — so the troll with cool mind always has the advantage over the angry community members.
There's also a passage from Anti-Semite and Jew by Sartre. Page 13 touches on this:
> Never believe that anti‐ Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti‐Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.
ofc there is. But you can't deny that the people who often pop up in reddit discussions about race issues have no interest in actually debating, they just want to spread their hateful worldviews.
It has gotten better lately imo. /r/uncensorednews got banned a couple of months ago for example and that was a >100,000 subscriber sub run by an actual neo-nazi (/u/RamblinRambo3). It featured neo-nazi imagery such as the black sun and whatnot in its banner. Those people had no intentions of ever having a civic debate about affirmative action.
When people talk about racism on reddit, it's rarely about people who have informed opinions about affirmative action, but rather about people throwing around "WE WUZ KANGZ" comments and triple parentheses.
Let me guess: they're mostly white, and mostly male, and mostly of average- to below-average intelligence.
You're doing a really good impression of the average toxic Reddit user.
> Racism, bigotry, and misogyny are not political topics.
Is there gray to any of those?
The meaning of those terms are constantly changing.
Issue don't have a right or wrong side unless you have adopted a position.
Lets take slavery as an example. Did you know that federal and state prisioners are forced to work for 30 cents or less an hour. If they refuse they get put in solitary. The average time someone is in solitary in the California prison system is 7.5 years. That is a form of torture. Slavery still exists lawfully so does torture.
Are you aware/against those forms of slavery/torture? Is everyone who is against slavery against this form? I think there is still some room for conversations around this issue and all of the other general topics.
I mean murder can be seen as a net benefit if someone murdered hilter before he took power.
Conflating legality with morality is silly.
Are you aware/against those forms of slavery/torture?
Yes, because there are some moral absolutes, which is why you retreated from a moral argument into a legal one.
While we only hear about Russia's and China's cyber ops on western news outlets, whenever I look into Reddit it feels quite the opposite. It feels like the perfect place to foment war, jingoism and xenophobia. Just look at /r/worldnews.
You've used that term ("thug-rap subreddits") twice here in this discussion, and I'm pretty sure you're just trying to bait, because not only do they simply not exist, but even if one did, it would be about 1/100000th the size of a toxic waste dump like The_Donald or any of the MRA swamps that plague Reddit.
Just a list of mad shit from her: https://www.buzzfeed.com/marcusjones/roseanne-barr-tweets-th...
The subject matter of the sub doesn’t matter, the toxicity is in the methods.
Are you sure there? Anonymity doesn't really exist anymore on the internet for the average person. Reddit has the illusion of anonymity which gives its users a false sense of privacy so they can act the way they truly are (parallels to Westworld if you watch the show).
It would be incredibly easy for Reddit to de-anonymize its user base, the same way Facebook was trying to do with medical metadata, and sell that info (at least for the US users, given GDPR in EU now)
Pretty easy to maintain a significant degree of anonymity by just deleting your account and making a new one.
With that said, most users are more concerned about being anonymous to their peers in conversation than they are to Reddit's administration itself, IMO.
Think voting patterns, date/times active, submission categories, comments, writing style, punctuation ...
Facebook had a project to cross-reference user behavior to anonymized medical data. Say patient A's history says he visited a foreign country in the Mediterranean, came back with the stomach flu, was hospitalized for 3 days ... Maps to: holiday photos, dates, locations, status updates, friends commenting get well soon etc.
I hear they were pretty successful at it too! Makes you think what a government actor can do with enough data.
People generally don't seem to appreciate the relationship between marginal information and statistical likelihood. ~87% of Americans are identified by DoB, zip code, and gender. That was about two decades ago. The state of the art today is going to make Cambridge Analytica look like the Post Office when it gets pulled out of the shadows.
No you don't. You can leave the email box blank and sign up with no problems.
Just to be sure I just tried it via iOS Safari and signed up for a new account by entering a username and a password. Left the email field blank. Works like a charm.
Almost no other input flow allows you to hit “next” when the only form field hasn’t been addressed yet. Why not put username, password, and email on one page instead of splitting it up the way they do? Then you can mark the two fields as required and the third as optional.
I’m sure Reddit has code in the back end to track people, but afaik thanks to Reddit’s general lack of ads, there just aren’t a ton of DMPs, so there aren’t a lot of data points to correlate with.
That said, using accounts with throwaway names will keep you pretty anonymous on its own.
P.s. Facebook doesn't sell data. It sells ads, targeted using the data it holds.
The distinction isn't a minor one, but in this context it doesn't much matter. Reddit is unlikely to have the kind of quality data that facebook has to sell - directly, or indirectly.
(Note, the Cambridge Analytica stuff happened in 2013 when Facebook was much more open with APIs using their data, since popular demand at the time was for FB to be less of a walled garden)
It's a different kind of data. Spez claims to know his user's "dark secrets" and that can be an ad-tech advantage for Reddit. 
The redesign that's currently in beta seems to mostly be driven by the desire to embed more ads. Instead of just one ad at the top of the page, there's new several spread throughout the feed, very similar to Twitter's promoted tweets.
I'm just waiting for them to add auto-play muted videos to the feed so they can charge those higher video CPMs.
The user experience is significantly worse. The entire goal is to reduce information density to cram in more ads.
Guess they didn’t get the memo that this transformation is exactly what drove users away from Facebook.
The problem is that the kind of content and discussion which appeals to everyone also appeals to noone. The biggest common denominator is small.
Networks like Reddit and Facebook are born in a niche and this niche audience is what keeps the quality of content high.
Once the niche gets bigger and bigger, the quality of the content goes down. And the network suffocates.
Maybe our society should recognize that some platforms should be treated as utilities, impose a small tax ($5? 0.05%?) which individuals can dedicate to a platform of their choice, and keep these vital forums away from crushing forces of market?
Could Reddit do similarly? Style itself as mostly a service and not especially profit-driven?
Hi, I'm @spez. By Creddits this week to help Reddit meet its quarterly fundraising goal! We've gamified it a little ...
Ads have cognitive cost that users pay for the service. Price competition in free service means annoying users less with ads. If there is competition and innovation in social media works, it has the potential to become the lowest profit margin business sector ever existed once it matures. Wast volumes and very thin profit margins.
The problem with Reddit's toxic user base is that they're only concerned with blocking bad actors on one side of a subject. They've repeatedly turned a blind eye to the open doxxing and brigading from SRS, and the complete takeover of the politics subreddit by CTR.
Has Reddit tried “periodic fundraisers” like public TV and Wikipedia?
Reddit Gold used to go into funding infrastructure. Gold buyers used to be able to name servers and all.
Unfortunately, Gold has not been enough to fund the site (if the sidebar on the front page is to be believed) for a long time.
I knew they were purchased by Conde Nast, then spun off at some point? Are they owned by VC now, or something?
Yet I presume the majority of the drive to make users use the app is in order to deanonymise them and associate their input with a real person?
>I’m still skeptical of Reddit’s ability to turn a profit. //
The reason it fits in with a media conglomerates portfolio must be influencing and profiling, no? Such profits aren't direct, they're through things like tax regimes tailored to the overlords, political systems that serve your needs, etc.. That's the media tycoon game isn't it?
I am surprised there isn't some kind of NLP based solution for that. I think labeling of slashdot-like informative/funny would be useful.
Maybe someone who makes the experience miserable for other users? Or is destructive / harassing / mean-spirited?
While everybody agrees that toxic users are bad and you probably should get rid of them, many would really disagree on who the toxic users actually are.
My made-up-on-the-spot definition would be: "Everybody who hinders business interests."
May it be by hindering user growth or even causing user loss. For example making large groups of users feeling uneasy in some way. For example using bad words or posting bad ideas or even purposefully provoking users or user groups.
Or by hindering revenue streams for example by advocating ad-blockers or making the advertisers or other money sources feeling uneasy.
Or other reasons.
Just googled quickly and found a figure of 250 employees from last year.
Does every business need to be some huge deal with thousands of staff and huge offices and tons of perks and a staff cafe now?
If I saw that, saw a clear description of the thing they're building and reasoned that it provides value to someone, I'd be over the moon.
Reddit has been more interventionist with content, which means they need more people to manage the community. I would guess they have all the developers they need...
In a way, that's a big part of what I see as their largest problem - they are relying on the zeal of the subreddit moderators to work for free. (They should have a model which allows moderators for large subreddits to get paid. And for the subscribers to vote for moderators.)
This is why the large subreddits are so incredibly polarized in either left or right directions - the moderators are not paid to deal with things fairly, they are there spending their time working free - the only benefit they get is that they get to enforce their particular political choice onto others in their subreddit.
Look at e.g. r/politics and r/the_donald as extreme examples of what I'm talking about.
This includes the political subreddits (actually especially the political subreddits). It’s legitimate user posts and discussions filtered by whoever has the coin to rent access to those moderators.
Mods don’t necessarily use their mod power itself for profit, but knowing how the sub works and what users like is very powerful. So is ignoring obvious upvote botnets because they belong to you or another mod.
Something like reddit2 should be run by a minimalist apolitical company.
They should work on building some kind of democracy in each sub-reddit, based on some factors (where "participation quality" is one important factor). If the users are unhappy, they should be able to call for an election, etc.
The reddit2 company should focus primarily on keeping the platform alive and on fighting bots. And on tuning the scoring model.
They should be financed in some way that doesn't depend on the content. Be it individual contributments, random, anomymized advertisments etc.
The company should try to hire apolitical engineers and managers. People who just care about solving an engineering problem.
That's dark patterns 101, but technically it's not required.
Almost as if toxicity of a person is an integral part of their nature and politically correct spaces are detrimental to the discourse.
Obviously, most people hold beliefs of some form, and those beliefs will clash with others. Bandying around "toxic" as an absolute in those situations is narrow-minded and prejudiced. Reasonable people with contributions in one neutral area and one controversial area are lumped with this same label as trolls, doxers, and inciters of violence.
Specificity of labels is very important, especially when they are tied to consequences.
Where "toxic" can certainly be used is in relation to a certain goal, like reasonable level-headed discussion, or subscription to a certain worldview; instead of as absolute. Even actions like deliberate trolling aren't considered toxic on sites like 4chan, because that's part of their accepted and promoted culture.
Reddit is none of those now. It's not anonymous ( they track your identity and feed it to the government ). You may be "anonymous" to fellow users, but not anonymous to authorities. It isn't information dense. It's propaganda dense. Almost all the content there now is government, media, ngo, etc propaganda. As for ads, check out the videos, movies, music, etc subs when a particular movie, album, etc comes out. The frontpage will be littered with ad-like submissions ( aka ads ).
Reddit is 80% government, politics and news propaganda and 20% ads ( movies, music, etc ). I think you are confusing the reddit of 2011 with today's reddit.
> It’s been Reddit’s dilemma since the beginning: you can’t monetize a toxic user base that has total freedom.
Actually reddit could and did monetize "toxic content". How do you think reddit has been around for nearly 13 years? And once again, you are confusing reddit of 2011 to reddit of 2018. Today, reddit isn't any more "toxic" than twitter, youtube, facebook, etc. Reddit is heavily censored. Besides, on social media, you don't monetize content, you monetize eyeballs/clicks/data points.
> I’m still skeptical of Reddit’s ability to turn a profit.
Do you really think reddit is unprofitable? Let me guess, you think that youtube is not profitable right? You think these companies have been around for more than a decade because they are not "profitable"?
Their "hollywood" style accounting may make it seem like they are not profitable, but these companies are incredibly profitable. It's why youtube has a valuation over $100 billion and reddit's valuation is in the billions.
> But as a community platform it’s the best out there IMO.
Have to disagree with you there. Any garden variety forum is better than reddit. Also, reddit stopped being a community a long time ago.
I've stopped using it because it's all political nonsense or advertisements.
> You may be "anonymous" to fellow users, but not anonymous to authorities.
True, but this only matters to a very small percentage of its user base. A vast majority of people who use Reddit don't know or don't care about data collection. They only care if their friend/coworker/family can ID them from what they post.
>Reddit is 90% government, politics and new propaganda and 20% ads...
The front page/top posts, maybe. 90% of the content doesn't reach the top of /r/all though. And I don't know if I consider what is popular/part of the echo chamber as an 'ad'.
>Do you really think reddit in unprofitable?
Profitable or not, what's the difference? They've maintained a relatively ad free experience and don't expect you to 'pay to play'. Content isn't pay-walled. Yes they've made cosmetic changes to shift towards a more 'social-media' style experience, but the changes are not that bad and haven't drastically changed the user experience.
>Any garden variety forum is better than reddit.
This is personal and can't be claimed with any objectivity. You may find that certain nice forums offer you more value, personally, but that doesn't apply to everyone.
In my experience, whatever shortcomings Reddit has are greatly outweighed by the information and entertainment I've received.
I am a heavy Reddit user and I don't notice any of these things, except when I specifically go looking for them. Curate your subreddit list and unsubscribe from all the default subs - they are all garbage, and that isn't even Reddit's fault, it's just inevitable once they reach a certain size.
You don't see politics related content on reddit daily? I used reddit since reddit was days old ( years before the digg migration ) so maybe we visited different websites.
> Curate your subreddit list and unsubscribe from all the default subs
That defeats the point of reddit doesn't it? Or what made reddit great. I never used reddit to be part of a bubble. Not only are default subs a bubble today, reddit itself is a bubble.
> and that isn't even Reddit's fault, it's just inevitable once they reach a certain size.
Actually it is reddit's fault. When they allowed and encouraged censorship, it allowed a small faction of political and news media/ngo affiliated mods to turn subreddits into their propaganda platform.
I skip pretty much all the political and news subreddits and stick to the focused communities that match my interest. Things like r/3dprinting, or r/omscs, etc. I find most communities are decent as long as they're not enormous. Any significant political content and I bail, I am just too tired of being reminded how horrible many people are.
Simple. By exposing yourself to a variety of ideas, opinions, viewpoints.
>Whether it is curating the subreddits you see, or selecting the news sites you visit, you are only ever going to see a tiny fraction of what's going on in the world.
Hence why I never subscribed to a subreddit...
Are you referring to the missing warrant canary? That's about the time I stopped using Reddit, but I doubt they're selling data to the government. They're probably ordered to give out data due to National Security Letters.
> The frontpage will be littered with ad-like submissions ( aka ads ).
/r/hailcorporate is kinda interesting in that they like to point this out. It's not necessarily advertisers pushing their stuff, but a mix of regular users who just embrace consumerism and corporatism + ad bots. It's sometimes impossible to tell the two apart.
> Actually reddit could and did monetize "toxic content". How do you think reddit has been around for nearly 13 years?
I think OP is talking about all the now banned subs: /r/jailbait (and all the other bait subs), /r/niggers, /r/fatpeoplehate, etc. etc.
> Also, reddit stopped being a community a long time ago
I don't use Reddit anymore, except for local subs sometimes. The combination of the warranty canary and the mass bannings made me fed up. But what pissed me off the most was the CEO that edited comments in the database, and then kept his job with an apology. You should have to step down after that.
I agree though. Reddit isn't a great service. I hope we see more smaller sites based around the concept; maybe more Lobster instances for niche communities.
That's certainly part of it. But even before then, reddit was sharing data with the authorities. Just like google removing "don't be evil" didn't mean that they weren't evil before they removed it. It just made it "official".
> I think OP is talking about all the now banned subs:
Right. And reddit was monetized while those subs were around.
> I don't use Reddit anymore, except for local subs sometimes.
The only time I check reddit is if there is a major news event, but the news and worldnews subs are now run by the news media employees, so it's all links to bbc, cnn, nytimes, etc, so even those subs are pointless now.
I don't think the list of top 50 subreddits  particularly supports that assertion.
reddit doesn't collect a large amount of information about users. They can give authorities the contents of your "private" messages and non-public subreddits, and your IP address. If you're making even a minimal effort to be anonymous, this will not be useful to the authorities.
The like/upvote/view/retweet counts never existed next to every thoughtful or thoughtless utterances prior to these sites. Just as in the real world. And just as it should have been. Everything your mom says doesn't need a popularity score next it.
The ppl who defend these sites have blindly accepted that popularity scores next to every thought/speech/action have no downside.
These days I don't even expect them to overcome that blindness which is why comments like yours will always get down voted despite the common sense in them.